Thursday, April 18, 2019


International consultancies that sell Citizenship by Investment (CBI/CIP) passports, involving programs operated by a number of European Union and East Caribbean states, have recently inundated the internet with sponsored articles, all painting an artificially rosy picture of the benefits applicants can derive from holding a CBI passport. The sheer volume of these "puff pieces" is crowding the legitimate news stories that appear about CBI matters, pushing them far to the rear of any google inquiry. Unfortunately, that is the aim of these "news management" tools.

The reason for such extreme measures is clear; the recent European Union position on Citizenship by Investment programs among the Members of the EU. In short, the European Parliament, having demonstrated the link between CBI passport holders and financial crime, especially money laundering, wants those programs terminated. both Malta and Cyprus operate CBI programs, and they are exploited by Russian organized crime syndicates, Iranian nationals seeking to evade global sanctions, narcotics traffickers, white collar criminals, and many other categories of unsuitable applicants engaged in criminal activities. Europe also fears that CBI passports may be used for terrorist financing purposes.

CBI consultancies, particular those who derive large commissions from their business with the five East Caribbean states, especially Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, and the Commonwealth of Dominica, concerned that the EU position will deter clients who read the press about its policy, have hastened to pollute the Internet with a large number of infomercials about the vitrues of each specific country's CBI products.

Any individual seeking information about CBI programs may not see the EU stories, as he is confronted with a raft of sponsored articles that curiously neglect to mention any of the negative issues applicants, as consumers, should know, including the EU policy, and the fact that many of the nations offering CBI passports are tax havens, which may paint a target on the passport holders' backs for US, Canadian UK, and EU law enforcement agencies, due to the high percentage of criminals arrested holding such travel documents.

The answer is, of course, due diligence, It is extremely troubling that affluent CBI applicants generally fail to engage a competent attorney to check out all the possible negative aspects of acquiring such a passport from specific CBI jurisdictions, and they later find out, to their chagrin, that they should have done so. Spending six figures for something that might raise your personal risk levels requires legal advice, and not from some dodgy CBI consultancy salesman claiming to be a legal expert in the CBI field; get an independent opinion, please, as there are dangers.

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